Welcome to my English Opening game with Bob Isaacs page!

On this page I have posted one my chess games in which I played the White side of the English Opening .

The game includes analysis and diagrams. This game is one of many games in which I lost to an expert. This is, however, one of the few times that I have played the Benko Gambit in reverse.

[Event “Lakeland Open”]
[Site “Lakeland, FL”]
[Date “1994.09.24”]
[Round “2”]
[White “Mike Serovey”]
[Black “Bob Isaacs”]
[Result “0-1”]

1. c4 Nf6 2. g3 c5 3. Bg2 d5 4. Nf3 Nc6 5. O-O d4 6. d3 e5 7. a3 Qc7 8.
b4 cxb4 9. Nbd2 bxa3 10. Bxa3 Bxa3 11. Rxa3 O-O 12. Qc2 Rb8 13. Rfa1 b6
14. Ng5 a6 15. Nge4 Nxe4 16. Bxe4 f5 17. Bd5+ Kh8 18. Qa4 Bb7 19. Nb3
h6 20. Rc1 Rf6 21. Raa1 Rbf8 22. c5 b5 23. Qa3 Ne7 24. Bxb7 Qxb7 25. Na5
Qc7 26. Rc2 f4 27. gxf4 Rxf4 28. e3 Rg4+ 29. Kh1 Nd5 30. exd4 Qf7 31. Nc6
Qf3# 0-1

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Lakeland Open
Round 2, Board 1
Game Played 24 September 1994
White: Mike Serovey (1633)  Black: Bob Isaacs (2139)
1. c4 Nf6 2. g3 c5 3. Bg2 d5


English Opening after 3... d5.

English Opening after 3… d5.

I seldom get this exact position as White. Here White can capture on d5 with the c pawn and then play Nc3, but I wanted to transpose into a Benko Gambit Reversed.

4. Nf3 Nc6 5. O-O d4 6. d3 e5

English Opening after 6... e5.

English Opening after 6… e5.

Now I have the position that I wanted. The next step is to set up the pawn sacrifice on a3.

7. a3 Qc7 8. b4 cxb4 9. Nbd2 bxa3

English Opening after 9... bxa3.

English Opening after 9… bxa3.

Mission accomplished. The pawn sacrifice has been made and accepted. Now, White needs to put pressure on Black’s queenside pawns and win back the gambit pawn. It is clear that White will attack on the Queenside and we will see what Black does.

10. Bxa3 Bxa3 11. Rxa3 O-O 12. Qc2 Rb8 13. Rfa1 b6

English Opening after 13... b6.

English Opening after 13… b6.

White is down a pawn but only has a slight lead in development for it. White now does a typical Benko Gambit maneuver and plays the King’s Knight to g5 and then to e4. Another  maneuver would be to play it to e1 and then to c2. It is OK to exchange the Knight here and to free up the fianchettoed Bishop on the long diagonal.

14. Ng5 a6 15. Nge4 Nxe4 16. Bxe4 f5

English Opening after 16... f5.

English Opening after 16… f5.

Black now commits to a kingside attack. Black’s last move forces the Bishop to a better square.

17. Bd5+ Kh8 18. Qa4 Bb7

English Opening after 18... Bb7.

English Opening after 18… Bb7.

Tempting is playing 19. Bxc6 because after 19… Bxc6 White can play 20. Qxa6. However, 20… Ra8 wins the Queen. Black’s Rook is cut off from protecting the b pawn, so White’s best strategy here is to shift the two rooks to the b file and put pressure on the b pawn.

19. Nb3 h6 20. Rc1 Rf6 21. Raa1 Rbf8 22. c5 b5!

English Opening after 22... b5!

English Opening after 22… b5!

White overlooked that last move. Now White has one passed pawn to Black’s two! Also, Black has doubled his rooks on the f file and is now prepared to play f5. White no longer has a queenside attack going and needs to regroup his pieces.

23. Qa3 Ne7 24. Bxb7 Qxb7

English Opening after 24... Qxb7.

English Opening after 24… Qxb7.

Here is where things start to go badly for White. Black now controls the diagonal from a8 to h1 with his Queen. That leaves the White King somewhat vulnerable. Very shortly, the doubled rooks will spring into action. White can try playing 25. c6 here because if Black captures the pawn with his Knight he blocks the Rook’s protection of a6 and White can capture that pawn. If Black captures on c6 with his Rook then exchanging rooks on c6 again leaves the pawn on a6 under protected.

25. Na5? Qc7 26. Rc2 f4!

English Opening after 26... f4!

English Opening after 26… f4!

The White Queen is stuck guarding the Knight on a5 and the pawn on c5. There are no pieces ready to help protect the White King. The doubled rooks on the f file can cause much trouble if White allows that file to be opened.

27. gxf4 Rxf4 28. e3? (f3 was better.) Rg4+ 29. Kh1 Nd5

English Opening after 29... Nd5.

English Opening after 29… Nd5.

The end is near! White’s pieces are not well coordinated and Black has the White King cornered! White is going to have trouble stopping Black’s mate in two threat. White’s best try here is playing 30. Rg1 to get the Black Rook off the g file. After 30… Rxg1+ 31. Kxg1 Black can play 31… dxe3 winning another pawn.

30. exd4 Qf7!!

English Opening after 30... Qf7!!

English Opening after 30… Qf7!!

The only way to stop the mate on f3 is to play the pawn to f4 now. If 31. Rg1 then Qf3+ 32. Rg2 Qxg2#. But, even that doesn’t work after Qxf4 because Black is still threatening checkmate on f3 and playing the rooks back to the Kingside still doesn’t prevent the mate.

31. Nc6?? Qf3# 0-1

Mike Serovey, MA, MISM

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